05 December 2019

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Uday Nair: The Gourmet King!

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New Kairali, a restaurant nestling in the heart of the city, in Anna Nagar, Chennai, is literally a home away from home. Once inside its cool interiors, with stained glass paintings depicting scenes from God’s own country adorning the walls, it evokes nostalgia.

Mr. Uday Chandran Nayar, the restaurateur, an easy going, down to earth, practical person, with an endearing smile. Udhay was only too glad to share with Small Enterprise India snippets of his success story. Born and brought up in Chennai, Udhay completed his degree in catering from Asan Memorial College in the year 1995. His first placement was with Taj Coromandel; and he continued there for three years, which gave him the much needed, strong foundation required to be a restaurateur par excellence.

Next, he got into Jet Airways, later into Taj Residency as banquet manager . He strode up the ladder of achievements unabated. At Jet Airways, he suffered a minor setback.” They threw me out without a parachute”, laughed Udhay. Setbacks, do not deter him.Infact, they motivate him to find a silver lining in every black cloud.

He ventured into consultancy, helping to set up restaurants. He had saved up a little during his stint at Jet Airways and coupled with that, his friends financed him to enroll in ITM, to complete his MBA in marketing. It was his dream to travel abroad, but he cites two reasons for not doing so. He had no funds, and secondly, he had joined the restaurant, Sanjha Choolah, as part time manager. It was here that he truly, learnt the ropes of this business and realized his passion for it.
Sanjha choolah was reluctant to let go of this enterprising youngster, and made him a director at the very young age of 24! He continued at Sanjha Choolah for three years and quit in the year 2003 to branch out into consultancy. Casablanca, Zanzibar, sri Krishna bhavan, Prime Rooster, Aban group, Rolls, JC’S Café in Nungambakkam, Reeves, a multi cuisine restaurant in Thuraipakkam.  Are a few of those outlets which have grown and flourished under his able mentorship.

He is particular about the fact that he does consulting for any outlet only until they start, and after that, for just a brief span of three months. “Hospitality industry is a tough preposition, _ with sleepless nights, and it being a thankless job. It’s not about passion for cooking or money to start a hotel”, opines Udhay.

In the year 2005, on February 18, with a bank balance of Rs 18000 and a goal of 10, 00,000, he messaged 105 friends asking for 20000 each, to start his own outlet. He promised to pay them back, when he had made profits. Seventy five replied_ “any time”!

Udhay reminisces nostalgically, and with gratitude, Mr. Bala, who lent him his initial investment of 25600. To this day, Bala remains his spiritual and motivational guru. Thus, he opened his won restaurant at Nelson Manickam road in Chennai. Next, he ventured to cater to Tidal Park, and for Malayali club for four years. At about this time, a series of setbacks followed him and he had to sell this Nelson Mmanickam outlet.

Unfazed, his belief in himself spurred him onto scale greater heights.

Life has taught him contentment and the aggressiveness in him has mellowed down considerably. He has also adopted the philosophy of “letting go”, which helps him to retain his peace of mind and not allow his soul to be tainted by grudges and grievances.

Meanwhile, he had set up his new outlet, New Kairali at Anna Nagar, which is renowned for its choice delicacies, especially sea food, which draws clientele to return time and again to partake of the excellent fare. A childhood fiend Rajesh, is in partnership with him. At about the same time, he happened to meet three of his former colleagues from his days at Taj Coromandel. They decided to join hands to start a bistro in Velachery and appropriately named it Parfeit3:   Parfeit in French means perfect, perfect in quality, quantity and service.

 Within three months, Udhay incorporated the bakery and confectionary to it. Parfeit3 caters to cosmopolitan club and currently they own one more bistro in Thiruvanmiyur. There was no looking back for Udhay after this. He eulogises that, to get the best out of life, is to always self tune oneself. “Success comes only when the situation is best understood”_ Udhay smiles. His out door catering, as well as his consultancy are aptly named 101 Concepts. In explanation, hesitates that. For every 10 of whatever he undertakes, one is kept aside for Divinity.  Truly astounding philosophy, that!!!

His future plans include procuring a doctorate in marketing and PR. Yet another feather to his cap! Right now, despite his busy schedules he finds time to pursue MPhil.  Udhay travels widely, providing training to various institutions, one among many being Citibank, where he had imparted level 1 and level 2 training. By the year 2020, he aspires to have ten outlets of his own, which, he asserts, will provide him with a comfortable income, to support him and his family, to live in great style and comfort. He plans s to retire by the age of 45, and devote time to his family. As time passes, he is keen on devoting time to mentoring and assisting those in need, lend a helping hand, as he had been helped once…

He is careful in choosing whom he mentors. The major drawback, according to him that the industry faces, is that there are no laws prevalent in the country, specifying a set of rules to start a restaurant.” Its all about having the right attitude and having proper understanding of  concepts. Resource management, finance, raw material, PR and concept management_ these are the essentials that have to be mastered. And they can’t be mastered overnight. It takes patience, understanding, of concepts and dedication to succeed. It is ironical that, out of 100 mentored, only 2% of them succeed and these two are the truly daring ones.     This is how Udhay calculates every step of his life carefully. Numbers have been his constant strength and an underlying philosophy in all his endeavors.

Cheers to a man who can be picked out one in a million, who completes to perfection each task, values human relationships, one who dares to admit his flaws, understand them and channelise it the right way . He is truly a career driven individual, a complete human being, doting husband and father, an amicable friend and a self motivated, deeply spiritual caring person.


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